Sunday, October 26, 2014

NGC 6992/6995, The Eastern Veil Nebula

The Astronomy Bug has been biting me pretty viciously lately. It's been too long since I've been out to the observatory! I try to ease my pain with an occasional imaging session with the ST80 whenever possible. One night in mid-October I managed to get a few minutes to take a few subs of the Eastern Veil Nebula.

The Veil Nebula is a supernova remnant located in the constellation Cygnus. It is a very large object in our skies, spanning an area of about six full moons, but it is not visible to the naked eye. (I have heard that it is barely visible in exceptionally dark skies, though.)

The Eastern Veil is one of the brighter sections. The Western Veil is also relatively bright.

NGC 6992/6995, The Eastern Veil Nebula; ST80 on Vixen SP; Canon EOS Rebel T3; 11x120 @ ISO-3200
For a detailed view of the entire Veil Complex, see Don Taylor's web site.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

October 23, 2014 Solar Eclipse

A few of us from the Huntsville Amateur Astronomy Society set up scopes on the roof of the Sam Houston State University parking garage. There were over 200 in attendance. While the emphasis was visual observation, I managed to snap a few shots.

In addition to the eclipse, giant sunspot group AR2192 was a big hit with the crowd.

These first two were taken at prime focus with my Canon EOS Rebel T3 through the ST80 with the solar filter:

This image was taken afocally through an 8-inch Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain with my Samsung Galaxy S5 Active:

This image was processed a bit to remove smudges on the eyepiece lens.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Double Cluster, Owl Cluster

Viewing conditions were almost perfect here in my part of East Texas the night of October 14, 2014. Despite the fact that I had to go to work the next day, I couldn't let a night like this go by without doing something astronomy-related, so I headed out to the observatory to dust off the Epsilon 200 and take some pictures.

I had some guiding issues with the mount (which isn't unusual), but overall the system performed well. Here are the images from the session:

Double Cluster in Perseus (NGC 884 on the left, NGC 869 on the right); Epsilon-200 on NJP mount; 23x60 at ISO-3200
Close-up of the Double Cluster centers

Owl Cluster (NGC 457) in Cassiopeia; Epsilon-200 on NJP mount; 10x60 at ISO-3200

Did you notice the cloudiness around the bright stars? It's especially noticeable in the close-up of the Double Cluster. I'm not certain, but I think that may be due in part to a dirty mirror. The primary mirror on the Epsilon is in desperate need of a bath. I've never cleaned a primary mirror before, and frankly I'm a little anxious about it since it is, for all intents and purposes, irreplaceable.